#FreeMelissaLucio: Innocent Woman on Death Row in Texas

The State of Texas // #FreeMelissaLucio Update List

UPDATE: March 7, 2024: Add your name to call for exoneration and freedom for Melissa Lucio. Please be sure to opt-in to the email list so that we may let you know when there is a positive development, or when it becomes time for new public action. This will also be a list to which we will be able to share future messages from Melissa and/or her family.

Two days before her April 27, 2022 execution date, Melissa Lucio received a stay from the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, which ordered the 138th Judicial District Court in Brownsville to consider new evidence in the case. As of March 7, 2024, an evidentiary hearing has not been scheduled.

Visit FreeMelissaLucio.org for additional information and action opportunities.


Melissa Lucio has spent over 15 years on death row for the alleged murder of her two-year-old daughter, Mariah. In 2008, Lucio became the first Latina woman sentenced to death in Texas.

On Monday, October 18, 2021, the US Supreme Court DECLINED to consider this case. On January 13, 2022, Melissa was scheduled to be executed on April 27, 2022. Her execution was halted on April 25, 2022 by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, which ordered the 138th Judicial District Court in Brownsville to consider new evidence in the case. As of March 7, 2024, an evidentiary hearing has not been scheduled.

In July, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit overturned a Texas court ruling and found Lucio’s right to a “complete defense” had been violated in her original trial. In February, 2021, a sharply divided court of appeals reversed the 2019 grant of relief by a vote of 10 to 7.

We urge anyone interested in this case to view "The State of Texas vs. Melissa, the award-winning documentary which sheds light on the controversy of her conviction, revealing a case with no investigation, a coerced confession, an incomplete defense, and a corrupt DA.

The State of Texas vs. Melissa, a 2020 documentary by Sabrina Van Tassel, highlights many of the concerning facts around Lucio’s case, including the following:

  • Lucio’s lawyers have contested the cause of death, presenting expert testimony from a neurosurgeon that Mariah may instead have died from head trauma caused by falling down a flight of stairs - fall that was witnessed by Melissa’s children.
  • Lucio’s original lawyer did not call any of her children as witnesses, including the ones who saw Mariah fall down the stairs. What’s more, he willingly ignored evidence that another child had admitted being abusive to Mariah. Right after the trial, he became a Cameron County prosecutor, and he remains employed there as a prosecutor.
  • Raw footage shows the interrogation, which lasted almost seven hours on the night of Mariah’s death, to be clearly coercive.
  • Dr. John Pinkerman, a psychologist, and Norma Villanueva, a mitigation specialist, hoped to testify that Lucio was susceptible to making a false confession during a coercive investigation. They were both barred by the trial court from testifying as to her innocence at the guilt/innocence phase of her trial.
  • Armando Villalobos, the district attorney who prosecuted Lucio’s case, was convicted of bribery and extortion in 2014 for accepting over $100,000 in exchange for favorable outcomes in criminal trials. He is now serving a 13 year sentence in prison. He was known to bribe judges and lawyers and was suspected of using Melissa’s case to be re-elected.

For more information on Lucio’s case:

Documentary Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wn4J8lQcNc




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To: The State of Texas // #FreeMelissaLucio Update List
From: [Your Name]

It is now clear that there was never any murder and Melissa Lucio was wrongly convicted of a crime that ever happened. We are writing to ask that you to return Melissa Lucio to Cameron County, drop the charges against her, and FREE HER IMMEDIATELY.